Friday, March 27, 2015

If someone accuses Taylor Swift of using poor grammar...

Remember taking the SAT exam?  That dreaded Saturday in the cafeteria, with your pencils all sharpened and your brain somewhat so, ready to tackle analogies (APPLE is to FRUIT as FLANK STEAK is to  a) GROCERIES  b) MEAT c) PUDDING  d) STEVE JOBS) and definitions of arcane vernacularisms, such as "arcane" and "vernacularism," and math graphs,  and I don't know what-all else.  

I also don't know how well this sort of test serves to predict one's ability to do well in college, but then again, we are living in a world in which a youngster, son of a friend of mine, "was dressed in double layered pants, a long sleeve shirt, and a heavyweight hooded sweatshirt today, but he wasn't allowed to go outside for recess because he didn't have a coat. He was made to sit in the office with nothing to do."  And that was on a day when the temperature in Baltimore was well above freezing.  So, really. It reminds me of people who get so upset if someone shivers. When did you ever hear of a child who suffered hypothermia while wearing a hoodie while playing while it was above freezing?  I say, please get real, educators!

And I read about this while reading that the Princeton Review, a company in business to help anxious high school juniors prepare for the test, mistakenly called out the virtually-perfect Taylor Swift for a grammatical error she did not make in lyrics to the song "Fifteen."

They have a section of their prep course called "Grammar In Real Life," (as opposed to???) in which the practice test says, "Pop lyrics are a great source of bad grammar. See if you can find the error in each of the following."

After quoting lyrics by Katy Perry, Whitney Houston, and Lady Gaga, they claim that "Fifteen" contains the line 

"Somebody tells you they love you, you got to believe 'em."

Not a worthy subject of any criticism
But the actual lyric goes:

"Somebody tells you they love you, you're gonna believe them."

One of Taylor's fans read this, pointed it out to her, and enjoyed the singer's response on Tumblr:

"Not the right lyrics at all pssshhhh. You had one job, test people. One job."


Princeton Review was swift to apologize: "I want to make sure that folks know that we're big Taylor Swift fans and that we apologize for the misrepresentation in the lyric," The Princeton Review's SVP-publisher Rob Franek told MTV News. "I appreciate her response, but the question on the grammar still holds true."

Translation: "Hey we're cool, even though we get the words wrong, and the wrong words we quoted used bad grammar. Remember, maybe we can't blame that on Taylor Swift, but we have 'Princeton' in our name, so aren't we cool?"

Other vocabulary words that might come in handy include bumptious, conceited, elitist, supercilious, snobby, snotty, arrogant, high-handed, imperious, overweening, pompous, smug, stuck-up, and swellheaded.

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